(OTTAWA, ON) July 15, 2021– Ottawa Community Housing Corporation’s Human Resources team has been recognized for their innovative approach to supporting employee health, safety and wellbeing during the pandemic.
The Canadian HR Reporter Innovative HR Teams 2021 List recognizes those teams that break boundaries to move human resources forward in a challenging year.
A COVID-19 core team comprised of departmental leads from across the organization and led by the directors of Human Resources and Finance departments helped to develop strategies and action plans designed to support the essential work of OCHC staff.
In support of health and wellbeing, OCHC’s Human Resource team implemented numerous initiatives to support employees working remotely and on the front lines. Those initiatives included additional healthcare benefits. The expanded benefits included virtual counselling – OCHC was among the first companies locally to offer this service.
Ottawa Community Housing Corporation also provided flexible scheduling options, resources for childcare, mental health leadership training, and developed safe work practices and guidelines based on the advice provided by the public health authorities. This work was done in concert with a robust communications strategy to ensure staff had access to the most up-to-date information available – a crucial element given evolving nature of the guidance around COVID-19 safety measures.
By continuing with these initiatives, we are preparing for the workplace of the future. A hybrid workforce model will be formed by engaging with all departments to establish procedures that support employee engagement and leverages technology, diversity and inclusion, mental health and wellness, and enables high performance – to ensure we continue to serve tenants the best way possible.
“This is well-deserved recognition of the work Ottawa Community Housing is doing to ensure strong leadership and supports for staff. This small and essential team continues to make a difference in our city, while improving the lives of tenants. The OCHC team is incorporating lessons learned in the pandemic to strive for continuous improvement.”
Councillor Mathieu Fleury, Chair of the OCHC Board of Directors
“We are committed to giving OCHC staff the tools they need to succeed. We are honoured by the recognition and acknowledgement of our innovative Human Resources team, as well as the commitment of each staff member, who have shown incredible resiliency and a commitment to tenants over the last year-and-a-half.”
Stéphane Giguère, Chief Executive Officer of OCHC
“I am very proud of the team, who worked tirelessly to ensure each staff member felt supported and safe. As an organization, OCHC was well positioned to provide support to staff during the pandemic thanks to the infrastructure that was in place to support diversity, inclusion and employee engagement.”
Shaun Simms, Vice-President, People, Culture and Communications, OCHC
- OCHC has 412 permanent, full-time employees are spread out between head office and five districts.
- OCHC has worked closely with the City of Ottawa through the Human Needs Task Force to support at-risk tenants since the onset of the pandemic. Staff worked with partner agencies, such as the Red Cross, to do wellness checks on OCHC tenants. From March 2020 to January 2021, they contacted more than 16,800 tenants by telephone. Staff and volunteers also knocked on more than 12,000 doors to provide tenants with food and information about support services.
- In addition to reconfiguring work to ensure staff and tenants stayed safe, a dozen of OCHC’s maintenance team workers volunteered to do essential work in homes where there was possible exposure to COVID-19. Workers were provided personal protective equipment and received training according to the guidelines from Ottawa Public Health.
- Thanks to additional supports for employee health and wellness, there was a 57 percent reduction in workplace injuries and a 17 percent reduction in sick time.
Ottawa Community Housing Corporation (OCHC) provides approximately 15,000 homes to about 32,000 tenants, including seniors, parents, children, couples, singles and persons with special needs, within many communities across the City of Ottawa. OCHC houses a diverse population of varying languages, ethnicity and cultures. OCHC is the largest social housing provider in Ottawa, managing two-thirds of the City’s social housing portfolio, and is the second-largest in Ontario. OCHC was selected as one of the National Capital Region’s Top Employers in 2018, 2019, 2020 and 2021. www.och-lco.ca | Twitter | LinkedIn | Facebook | Instagram
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